MISSIONAL COMMUNITY: CREATING A LANDING PAD FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

Gateways Beyond International is a messianic missional community committed to sharing a life of daily worship and prayer, discipleship training and world outreach. Our foremost desire is to help hasten the soon return of the Lord.

We are on a journey! Seven years ago the Lord brought our family to the island of Cyprus with a simple instruction; "Build for Me an altar of worship and intercession". All we knew to do was to set aside the first part of each day and seek His face. I don't think we had any idea of all that God would do in our midst as we followed Him. He has brought many people to join us and many have been sent out from us to extend His kingdom. Looking back, we see that one of the most beautiful things He has been forming in us is a deeper understanding of who we are as a missional community.

What is a missional community?

We are living in an age where we are constantly bombarded by the spirit of the world that assaults from every side saying "be independent", "look out for number one", "trust no one but yourself". True believers are longing to be a part of a community of authentic relationships that are cemented together by common biblical vision and lifestyle. They are dedicated to being a vital part of a group who are wholeheartedly living out Yeshua's teaching and example and in turn want to be just like Him.

Attending a corporate gathering once a week or signing up for a good program can't satiate our thirst for really "living life together" as the body of Messiah. I Peter 2:5 describes us as living stones that are being built into a spiritual temple. Embracing this identity, we acknowledge that God has placed specific people around our lives and that together we bring a pleasing offering to God.

The integrity of our relationships becomes the altar for a sweet smelling savor and living sacrifice to rise up to the Lord. It is then that He answers with His fire and favor. When the Lord's fire and favor continue to fall upon us regularly, His glory dwells with us. Living out true biblical community can be likened to painting a bulls eye for God on our lives. Put another way, we create a landing pad for the Glory of God!

We call ourselves "missional" because though we are gathered together, we face outward, living and breathing God's heart for the redemption of the whole world. Turned off by the notion of evolving into a holy huddle or becoming inwardly focused navel gazers, we desire to be ambassadors to the nations. Understanding that light chases away darkness we want to let our lives shine brightly in a dark world and in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15).

Choosing a more organic approach over a corporate business model, outreach and evangelism aren't labels on an organizational flowchart but rather the outflow of our hearts as we seek to obey and imitate our Lord. Here are a few of the characteristics that have developed out of our core values as a missional community:

Gateways Training School - discipleship and mentoring in a community context

As leaders in the Gateways Training School (GTS) we are discovering that the biblical context for true discipleship takes place in biblical community. Together, as we seek to become disciples of Yeshua we are fulfilling the first and greatest commandment to love God and our neighbor (community). And as we are being equipped and equipping others to extend the power and authority of the Kingdom of God all across the earth we are also fulfilling the great commission (missional). During the past seven years, we have had the privilege of personally training, equipping and launching over one hundred students from at least twenty nations. A part of the training is to take the community (staff and students) on the road for outreaches. We have sent GTS ministry teams to Israel, Ethiopia, The Ukraine and most of Europe.

The furnace of worship and intercession

God spoke to the people of Israel in the Torah that an acceptable offering was one without blemish and that it was to be regular and continual before Him. Through King David and King Solomon we learn that an extravagant offering delights God. Following this pattern as a community we set aside the first hours of our day to meet with the Lord in worship and intercession. What is cultivated in our hearts through intimacy with Yeshua comes alive through the deposit of His word in us and through encountering His manifest presence. This furnace of love and adoration is the center of our life together and the place from which all our ministry flows. Our individual lives are like logs that are ignited in the presence of God and when we position ourselves next to one another, collectively, we become a bonfire for the Lord. Holy fire is God's advertising plan for His kingdom! All of Israel went out to see John the Baptist as a burning man in the wilderness. How much more when we burn together in the presence of the Lord will the whole world be drawn to the light, heat and radiance of God's fiery presence?

The multi generational anointing - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

In our community we have a vision to see the generations running hand in hand, spurring each other on, each one honoring the God of our fathers and those that have paved the way before us. We are committed to experiencing the joy of releasing the zeal and passion of youth coupled with the wisdom and experience of our elders. Our hearts desire is for God to be glorified in everything we are and do. Believing that the grace is lifting on the "one man show" model of ministry and that God won't share His glory we desire to live out a "nameless and faceless" model of team ministry.

Biblical calendar - living out God's rhythms of life

There is a cadence that draws our lives together as we joyfully observe the Shabbat and the Feasts of the Lord. We find that these weekly and annual cycles of life create expectation for encountering the Lord and hearing His voice. Separating common from holy on a weekly basis through entering into the Shabbat, we celebrate our faith in God as Creator, Provider and as One who desires to meet with us.

Cyprus - a strategic crossroads

Located in the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey, and north west of Israel, the island of Cyprus has been a strategic crossroads for millennia. Since the first century there's been a strong bond between Jerusalem and Cyprus. The Lord is restoring this unique connection for His purposes in these last days.

As a primary commercial shipping route and as the home of Barnabas it was a natural first stop on the first missionary voyage of Paul. It was here in Cyprus that Saul's name was changed to Paul and he began to step into his destiny "as a chosen vessel to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). We believe that as history is coming full circle and now that the gospel has gone out to the ends of the earth and is coming back to Jerusalem that the Lord is raising up Cyprus to be a place of receiving and launching apostolic teams into the region.

This year Gateways Beyond has sent out teams to the region including Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. In addition we believe that our island is to be a place of revelation, encounter and stepping into God given destiny. As I write, Cyprus is now operating in one of her spiritually redemptive giftings, hospitality. As a place of refuge, Cyprus is currently receiving, sheltering and offering hospitality to tens of thousands of evacuee's from Lebanon as they make their way to their respective countries. Cyprus was the home of Barnabas, the son of encouragement, who was an influential man of God, full of faith and the Holy Spirit in the first century Body of Messiah. We are stirred to walk in the same anointing as Barnabas, which is to inspire courage in the hearts of God's people to fulfill their destinies in the Kingdom.

We are on a journey! I am expectant of so many things. I don't know all that God has for us during the next seven years. I do know that we will explore the path in front of us together as a "missional community" and that as we are faithful He will increase our fruitfulness in the Kingdom. Looking back at the history of God's people we observe that the highlights were when the body of Messiah was living as missional communities. This is evidenced in the book of Acts, during the exponential growth of the early church, in the lives of the Celtic Christians as they carried the true light of the gospel in the dark ages and in the Moravians of Herrnhut with their one hundred year unending prayer meeting that launched the birth of modern Protestant missions.

We hope that you are encouraged in your journey to live out the biblical pattern of missional community in the place that God has established you. Although, it isn't easy and rarely comfortable, the rewards of fellowship with God and His family are for now, for eternity and all for His glory. Together, through sharing life in true missional community let's create a landing pad for His glory all over the earth!

 


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Comments:
16:21 19Sep06 David E Chambers -
Larnica, Cyprus, means a lot to me: the mayor of that fine city told me that because the city is the place of Lazarus' second tomb it has great significance. I was very acquainted with Lazarus' first tomb in Bethany. The Muslim man who ran the tomb and collects all the money for letting people go down into the tomb had 17 children by his older wife and the younger one he already had 14 children. I was friends so he allowed me to bring people I knew for free. The reason Lazarus had to flee was because the religious leaders said his testimony was to powerful. Many were being converted by it. He had to flee for his life. So when I visited the church at the site of Lazarus' 2nd tomb, I had a different understanding than many have. I believe that if I tell you about the resurection power and the power of the resurection, you will see they are very different. One is what power it took to overcome death, and what power there is in the message of Lazarus' as well as the Messiah's resurrections. I don't just say I believe, for now I know, even though I do not have firsthand knowledge of being there, it is my Cross that the Messiah bore, and he raised me from the dead, I was dead (in sin) but now I am restored to a relationship with the Messiah, He is LIFE, and He has given it abundantly to me. He is LIGHT and now I can see. He is LOVE and now I love him with an everlasting LOVE that He gave me. I can't receive praise from any of you for this only from Him. If He says well done my good and faithful servant, then I know He has accomplished the work He started to do in me. Not me but Christ that dwells in me!!! I pray that I am that vessel that was completely empty and now is filled by Him and all that He is. No longer I that live but Him in me. He owns me. I have put my ear to the post and said mark me as your servant because you are the good master and you give such good gifts that I could never have without you. I do things I love doing for you, your burden is light and in the hard stuff I feel the yoke upon me being lightened because you are taking the burden upon yourself. As he did on the cross He still does everything on our behalf and for our benefit. Everything He does is for The Father and for us. He is the Greatest servant of all He is my Master and He serves me, it is not fair, it is LOVE, He loves me and I don't deserve it, I did nothing to merit this kind of treatment. I am very thankful and I have all the best of everything, what more do I need? One thing I desire it is for this note to let you know Him better, for to know Him is to Love HIM. I love Him because He FIRST Loved me, I am so glad I responded to the greatest love ever known, to lay down His LIFE for me (US). If I could tell you how big the gap that needed to be bridged for me to know Him: He had to move mountains and put them in the gap so I could come to the other side where He was and is and will be. He is establishing His Kingdom on Earth now and every since His cross, which was my rightful cross I was worthy of death but now am His, He has the power over life and death. I choose Life. Choose this day whom you will serve! Choice time!!!

20:58 19Sep06 anonymous -
This article is brilliant! It is the best-communicated definition of Christian community living I've read recently. Thank you, for taking the time to write! We love your sister Kes and Jahi! Blessings to you!

17:42 06Nov06 anonymous -
Indeed it is a great article. One that I have been longing for so long. I feel this is right for local churches to learn and also very timely.

03:19 19May08 Paul -
As a brother is born for adversity, so Cyprus has been born for Israel. Well done, Joshua, Caleb honours you as a first fruit. Our time to walk together is drawing near, as you are ready so am I, we will slay many giants.


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: In The Cross Of Messiah I Glory
Eitan Shishkoff: Esther's Call
Eitan Shishkoff: Messianic Children And Youth Take Refuge
Marty Shoub: While Katyushas Fall
Asher Intrater: Tisha B'Av 2006 On The Lebanese Border